Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fun with words VII

So according to some random website I came across today (OK, actually, it's a column from the Hindustan Times), there's a new "longest word in the English language". It's

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

It’s 45 letters long. It’s a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, mostly found in volcanoes. I'm wondering if this is common among volcanologists - mostly because if it qualifies as an occupational disease then I might be able to included it in one of the lectures I have to give next week.

The author listed a bunch of really long words - some that don't really count as words in the English language because they aren't really used, like

Bababadal­gharagh­takammin­arronn­konn­bronn­tonn­erronn­tuonn­thunn­trovarrhoun­awnskawn­toohoo­hoordenen­thurnuk,

(representing the thunderclap when Adam and Eve were thrown out off Eden. Honestly now. Who could ever be tenacious enough to figure out how to say that without looking at it?)

Then we have:

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (fear of long words... Ihehe)

floccinaucinihilipilification (the art of estimating something to be worthless)

Oh, and antidisestablishmentarianism - the long word we usually think of first? Apparently, since the church was not disestablished (i.e, the disestablishmentarians weren't too fond of the church of England in the mid-1800s.. but clearly, the church is still, uh established), the word is no longer in use.

2 comments:

Jordan said...

Heh. Some of the molecules I made for my Ph.D. have names that are way longer than those! Not that anyone would care, though.

Simone said...

Jordan! for some reason I knew that the comment would be from you... come on - show us one of your really big words!